PROFILE BY BEST RESTAURANTS
Let's get one thing out of the way: you do not come to Bento Ya for the decor. Not that it's unpleasant; the cosy cottage that houses the restaurant has its charms – a welcoming two bedroom dining room with a fireplace and a palm-lined outdoor courtyard. However, it also has white metal chairs with covers that bare a disturbing resemblance to those of Sydney busses (blue and speckled), fake bamboo painted (or stuck) onto windows and walls decorated with whiteboards and frames of food pictures and specials. But while the fit-out is a bit shy of flashy, the food is good. In fact, it is very, very, very good.
As the name suggests, this is the place to come for Japanese bento boxes – there are 50 on offer for lunch and 47 for dinner. For each bento, diners select one of thirteen dishes to make up the main part – choices range from chilli chicken to tonkatsu and mixed tempura to salmon teriyaki, just to name a few – and complement this with two smaller dishes (such as sashimi, gyoza, takoyaki), a salad, rice and a miso soup. If that sounds like a lot of food, it is. So if you're not up to eating your own weight in delicious Japanese fare, there are also smaller (though not by much) meal options such as various dons, fried noodles, teriyaki and katsu sets, okonomiyaki (Japanese pancakes), sizzling barbecue, udon, rolls, sushi and sashimi, as well as salads and some twelve types of entree. In contrast to the food, the drinks list is modest – soft drink, juice, tea and water – but you can BYO wine for free. The best part however, is that the most you'll pay for a meal is $19.50 with the majority of dishes falling below $15.